Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2014 - (Page 44)

child'sstory A firm grasp Learning to use a new prosthesis helps a young boy reach his goals. A 44 children's hospital s today Spring 2014 Christian Berg t the occupational therapy gym at Shriners Hospitals for ChildrenShreveport, Robert Brandon Wilson peers over the tip of an improvised magnetic fishing pole. Tilting his head to the side in concentration, he adjusts his left elbow in the way he's been trained, his prosthetic arm responding in turn by gripping the pole firmly at the base. As a dexterity challenge, the exercise serves to further assert Brandon's control over his new arm. For the active 8-year old and his mother Diane, however, the newfound independence puts Brandon's interests and future firmly in grasp. "When he was young he didn't have much to do with the little arm he had," Diane says. "He became used to doing without, but he loves to fish and we hoped to find a way to give him support for that and the other things he'd like to do." During his early years, Brandon learned to adjust to life without the lower part of his left arm. His condition was the result of amniotic band syndrome (ABS), a congenital disorder in which fibrous amniotic bands entangle parts of a developing fetus. The bands can wrap around and constrict blood flow to appendages, causing damage or amputation of digits or limbs in utero, in addition to other possible conditions such as cleft lip and palate. Because signs of amniotic band syndrome are not easily identified during most ultrasound procedures, the condition is often difficult to diagnose in advance. "I had an ultrasound every month, and it was never detected," Diane says. "When he was born, the doctor said he had a slight disability that had not been anticipated-he was missing his left arm below the elbow." Doctors explained the role of ABS in his condition, and shortly thereafter they took him to the orthopaedic doctor who said there was nothing they could do. During occupational therapy at Shriners Hospitals for Children-Shreveport, La., Robert Brandon Wilson learns how to use a new, "body power" prosthetic. As the Wilson family explored resources to support Brandon's condition, a family friend who was a Shriner recommended contacting Shriners Hospitals for Children. Traveling from their hometown of Raymond, Miss., the Wilsons made the 200-mile trip to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Shreveport, La. Established in 1922 as the first in the Shriners Hospitals for Children system, the facility provides pediatric orthopedic and cleft lip and palate care to children throughout a sixstate area in the southern United States. Though initially provided with a prosthetic designed for infants and children, Brandon resisted using it until the demands of an active boy's lifestyle necessitated additional support for his right hand. Upon his return to Shriners at age 7, Brandon was fitted with a lightweight "body power" prosthesis with a workable hook fixture that opens and closes in response to either motion at his left elbow or a flex in his back. During his intensive therapy sessions at the hospital, Brandon learned to manipulate his new device to grasp objects and coordinate with his right hand to accomplish precise tasks. "That was the first time he opened up to anybody about having a prosthetic and being able to do things he wasn't used to doing," Diane says. "After therapy, he could tie his own shoes and button his pants. It's amazing what he was able to accomplish." Now in third grade, Brandon enjoys baseball, basketball and especially fishing at the family's lakeside home. As he continues to learn to incorporate his prosthetic into more aspects of his daily life, Brandon's enthusiasm, patience and quiet persistence will always serve to keep his future dreams within reach. "He's never been told he couldn't do something," Diane says. "And certainly there's nothing stopping him." -Christian Berg, Shriners Hospitals for Children-Shreveport childrenshospital

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2014

Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2014
Editor's Note
President's Message
Reader Commentary
Everyday Heo
Transforming Care
Measuring Up
Data Breach: 10 Ways to Prepare and Respond
A Fresh Take
Balancing the Business of Care
Better Together
Public Policy Update
Board Member Q&A
Child's Story

Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2014